The House of the Seventh Minuet CX

This chapter reverts to the viewpoint of Leila Moss.


I relaxed as best I could on the edge of Ingrid’s bed.. Even though she held my arm tightly, I knew she was trying to be gentle. Her pale hazel eyes were full of worry and weariness, as well as gratitude. I had never in my life expected to actually be giving blood to a vampire, willingly or not. The ones Lord Thorne had introduced me to so far had hardly been different from humans. Aside from the fact that I’d been kidnapped, I didn’t feel hunted, and I wasn’t being attacked.

Ingrid’s bite had only hurt for a moment; it was almost like the needles of two syringes going in. It wasn’t that I was numb, just that I wasn’t in constant pain. Like I’d told Stefan, it was a lot like giving blood at the Red Cross. I was feeding Ingrid for the second time when Lord Thorne brought him in; the first time had been just after breakfast, when I’d told him that I would help Ingrid and Brielle as best I could, but if my blood wasn’t helping them, I didn’t want to end up as weak as Sir Maël.

Now that he was overseeing the feeding, Lord Thorne could ensure that I didn’t give too much, that I took breaks to rest and recover, and that I had plenty to eat. I felt safe knowing that he was looking after me, everything else aside. We’d talked enough over the couple days that I believed he did have Tierney Ríocht’s best interests in mind. He also wanted to take care of his bloodline, which now included Brielle, regardless of how she’d been brought into it.

When we’d come in to tell Matthias that I would feed his fledglings that morning, it had been disappointing to find that he’d gone missing. He’d only had a little longer to wait for my answer, and even Lord Thorne was uncertain where his might have gone. Now that Matthias was back, there was a lot going on, and the room was getting crowded.

Watching Larsa run out of the room, chased by Killian and then Stefan, would have been funny if the shouting hadn’t made me so uneasy. When I heard the familiar name being tossed around, the only thing keeping me on the bed was Ingrid. I didn’t want to rip my arm away and risk tearing my wrist wide open, no matter how curious I was about what was going on.

When Lord Thorne walked calmly out to the hallway and Blackthorne came in with but a few words from him, it reminded me of an expert parent. I think Killian’s parents had been like that, able to have their children cooperate with hardly any effort. There was clearly a well-established rapport in place between them.

Blackthorne froze and stared at me as soon as he recognized me. “So you’re here, too.”

I stared, back, not knowing what to say to him. My mind raced, reminding me of the dream I’d had of him in the vampire castle. I had to tell myself repeatedly that he couldn’t have known about it, but I still couldn’t shake the eerie feeling running down my spine.

He stepped closer and leaned down to push a lock of hair out of Ingrid’s face. I couldn’t read his expression, but at the very least, he wasn’t yelling anymore. Then he turned around and sat down in the armchair where Stefan had been. He rubbed his hands over his face and watched us a for sense tense moments before speaking.

“Hello, Leila,” he said, sounding weary and stressed. “How have these past few years treated you?”

I smirked and shook my head. “Life was pretty normal for a while there… college, friends, work. Lately, though, things have gotten pretty interesting.”

“Only lately?” he said with a sort of laugh. Then he sat back and rested his ankle on his other leg. “Well, I bet you have a lot of questions.”

“And you don’t?”

His smile widened. “I always did like your spirit, Leila. And yeah, I have questions, but not as many as I’m guessing you do.”

Oh man… That told me that he already knew a lot about what was going on. There were definitely some interesting conversations ahead for us.

Then Matthias entered the room. His voice caught in his throat when he saw Ingrid feeding from me. He glance over at Blackthorne, and then Erik, and then back at me. He looked mortified.

“Lady Moss…” he gasped, his voice quavering.

“Ah, I see what all the shouting was now,” Erik said, his voice rich and cunning. “You went to get Emory because you thought she wouldn’t feed your darling fledglings.”

‘Emory.’ I had only heard Blackthorne’s name a few times back in high school. He didn’t like to be called by his given name by his peers, and I’d had precious few opportunities to hear any adults speaking to him. It was a handsome enough name; elegant, old-fashioned, and not too feminine. It wasn’t very common either, much like the man himself. Interesting that Erik and Matthias called him that and not ‘Blackthorne.’

“So all three of you know each other,” I said.

Matthias dropped to his knees near me, muttering some sort of rushed apologies. Blackthorne glanced at him, but didn’t seem impressed by his behavior.

“Yes,” he said, sounding slightly disappointed. “I also remember that it wasn’t so long ago that he took Ingrid as his fledgling.”

“That’s what I was told,” I agreed. “So Matthias went to get you? But why? I mean, I guess he told you about Brielle, but why you?”

He gave me a smile that said, ‘we have so much to talk about.’ “I… I think we should wait for everyone to be in here.”

“Sure. So… ummm… what was all that yelling about?”

Blackthorne’s smile faded. “Ehh… yeah, of course you heard. In my defense, it’s been a very rough morning for me.”

“I’m all ears,” I said. Clearly I couldn’t go anywhere with Ingrid still needing to be fed.

He rubbed both hands over his face. “We weren’t supposed to be disturbed for anything less than the most dire emergency wherein I was the last possible person able to help Tierney Ríocht,” he told me. Then he glared at Matthias and grumbled. “So imagine my surprise when this vampire shows up in my bedroom and interrupts me and my new husband.”

“Husband?” I repeated. I thought back to what Stefan had told me about finding Blackthorne and Justin online. “Wow, congratulations!”

“Thank you,” he said flatly, still glaring at Mattias. “He told me that one of the musicians was going to die if I didn’t come and feed Ingrid immediately. He completely left out the part about a member of the Moss family being here.”

“I’m so sorry, Prince Emory!” Matthias cried. He he still kneeling and keeping his head down. “And Lady Moss, I’m sorry I didn’t trust you better.”

Prince Emory?!” I gasped.

Blackthorne made a weary expression and rubbed his temple. “They call me that, but it’s a complete misnomer. Just… don’t let it bother you. What I was going to tell you was, when I saw Killian out in the hall, I was already pissed off.”

“Okay…”

“And I’m sure you remember he things ended between him and Li– Justin.”

“You mean how Justin moved away and one day completely ceased contact with Killian?”

Blackthorne nodded.

“Yeah, Killian was pretty heartbroken about that,” I said. “But… full disclosure, Stefan told me you and he were talking online. Some bad stuff had happened to Justin in Wyoming, and you went to save him…”

“And now we’re married,” he finished for me, holding up his left hand to show my a thick silver band with black and red crystals in it. “Well, there’s a lot to say about what happened in Wyoming, but the end result is, seeing Killian like that… I lost it on him.”

“You–” Then I remembered all the shouting. “Oh. Ooohh…”

“Yeah.”

“Is he okay?”

“He’s fine,” another voice said. “The bleeding stopped.”

I twisted around to see a young man with feathery black hair enter the room. Killian had one around his shoulders, and the other around Larsa’s. Stefan followed them in. Blackthorne immediately got out of his chair and let them put Killian– whose face was a little messy from what looked like a nosebleed– in it. He found a simple wooden chair to occupy instead, and avoided Killian’s gaze.

Then Lord Thorne swept into the room and sent Matthias out to get a couple more chairs.

“Well, this has certainly started out as an interesting reunion,” Lorde Thorne said. “Lady Moss, I never realized that you went to school with my grandson.”

I think my jaw fell open at that remark. I stared at him, unable to speak to ask for an explanation.

“Emory Thorne,” the vampire lord went on, “is the only son of one of my children on Earth.”

“Didn’t his father…”

“I hope you remember enough that I don’t have to retell that history,” Blackthorne said. Clearly that part of his life weighed heavily on him. I nodded.

“Emory’s father was unworthy of my bloodline,” the vampire lord went on. “Still, Emory has always been a precious child, and I am proud that I was able to tell him the truth of what I am.”

I looked over at Blackthorne. “So you’re a quarter vampire… does that make you a dhampir?”

He spent a few moments thinking about how to answer that, and I could tell by his expression that he wasn’t thrilled with the term. “Yes and no. The common lore around dhampirs on Earth isn’t completely accurate, but… well Tierney Ríocht and Earth do have their interactions.”

“Ooohh, did you start dressing in that style when you found out that vampires are real?” Larsa asked, as excited and curious as always.

Stefan glared at him. “Why do you ask questions like this?” he groaned.

“What?” Larsa replied, as though his question had been perfectly reasonable.

Blackthorne didn’t seem to mind. “Heh… I was goth long before Grandfather told me the truth. It was more of a convenient coincidence.”

“Don’t forget, Emory, that it was openness to the shadows that made me willing to tell you about this world.” Lord Thorne added.

Matthias returned with the extra chairs, and while everyone else took a seat– Larsa in Killian’s lap and Justin between them and Blackthorne, Lord Thorne told him to sit on the bed to oversee Brielle and Ingrid. He gave me a worried look, and seemed for all the world like a a puppy being punished for being very naughty.

Larsa looked Blackthorne over again. “So if Killian, Leila, and Stefan knew you before, I’m surprised they didn’t make the connection when they met Lord Thorne.

“We were kind of busy, Larsa,” Stefan growled.

“I would have at least thought about it,” Larsa said, “if I had a friend named Blackthorne.”

“I’m sure ye would hae, lad,” Killian told him. He avoided looking Blackthorne’s way. Justin watched him, still concerned about the nosebleed he’d gotten. “But right now, Lord Thorne, I’m curious as to why Matthias fetched ye’re grandson.”

Matthias started breathing hard when he heard that question. One look from his grand-master, though, and he clenched his jaw and lowered his gaze.

“I shall tell you,” Lord Thorne began. “When it comes to those who are better at feeding vampires than others, there are several… characteristics. Humans from Earth are more nourishing, most especially descendants of the Moss family.”

“Then wouldn’t I be, too?” Killian asked. “If it would put less strain on Leila, I can help.”

I noticed Stefan roll his eyes and shake his head. “I don’t understand why you’d throw yourselves at them after what they put Leila through.”

Justin looked between me and Stefan. “What happened?”

“He had her kidnapped and brought here,” Stefan told him, scowling all the while.

Lord Thorne remained stoic despite the emotion in the room. “If I may continue…? Far more powerful than the blood of a Moss from Earth is that of those able to come here; specifically, those like Lady Moss. Creative, musical, believing in magic and wonder. The other source of powerful nourishment is my bloodline. My descendants can sustain my vampires much better than most humans, though there are sanctions against seeking them out even for those who are allowed to visit Earth. And because my grandson embraces the shadows and is more closely related to me, his blood is especially rich.”

“Are you kidding me?!” Stefan snarled. “You could have summoned him at any time, yet you ordered your lackeys to bring Leila here?”

“Stefan,” Blackthorne said in a warning yet calm tone, “yelling at him will not achieve anything.”

“I don’t–”

“You really do need to find a way to ease your temper,” Lord Thorne said, as calm as ever. “I did not send for my grandson because by the time Ingrid and Brielle came here in need, his wedding was fast approaching, and I had already promised that he would not be disturbed.”

“Of course you’d get married in October,” I said, sharing a grin with him.

Stefan narrow his eyes at Lord Thorne. “So Leila had to be grabbed by a bunch of wild werewolves so that Blackthorne and Justin could enjoy their honeymoon?”

“That is the truth of it. As I told Leila, Emory was only to be summoned if there was no other way to save Brielle.”

“And you couldn’t have fed her yourself?”

“My blood is a gift and a treasure,” Lord Thorne told him. “Feeding Ingrid would make her more powerful than her master.”

“It would also make him responsible for continuing to feed her,” Blackthorne added. “It would allow her to feed Brielle, but she would also exceed Matthias, and from what I’ve heard, they went against everyone else’s will with what they did.”

“But if Brielle died…” I reminded him.

Blackthorne scoffed. “A lot of the people of this world are worried about a musician dying. I think that another one could be found to take her place.”

“That is a point of contention that we need not discuss right now,” Lord Thorne said. “All that concerns us now is that Leila has been gracious enough to feed Ingrid, who will then be able to feed Brielle. Perhaps once they are well, she will stay and talk with us about music.”

“And magic!” Larsa added with an eager grin that had both me and the vampire lord smiling.


About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a planet where four gods are known: good, evil, elemental and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the land whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future. Any news I have on about publishing will be shared as it comes in!
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